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July 18, 2013

Effective Leadership for Technical Professionals

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Jeff Cochran

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It’s no secret that good, effective leaders drive forward a successful business. But what makes a good leader? Technical leaders in particular, including as people working in marketing, finance, and sales, have a specific set of needs.

Leadership Needs for the Technical Workplace

Effective leaders should be the driving force behind achieving business goals and objectives, which requires that they meet a number of business needs.

  • Supporting colleagues. This is the first point on the list for a reason. Business leaders are not just there to crack the whip on their team members. Employees and teammates who feel well supported in their work are going to work harder, as long as the leader balances support with the importance of meeting deadlines and accomplishing goals.
  • Autonomy. In business, employees should have some level of freedom and discretion over the work that they do. Tying in with support, the autonomy awarded to colleagues also means high expectations. Employees who have a lot of free reign over their work also have high responsibility, and it is the leader’s job to motivate and check in. Leaders should also be able to reassess what is and is not working when it comes to employee responsibility.
  • Achievement. Ultimately, the greatest needs of businesses are those of actually meeting business objectives and goals.

Common Leadership Pitfalls

When leaders are ineffective, businesses suffer. But just how much? While it may be obvious that productivity decreases, it’s also true that retention falls short, employees are unengaged, their talents go undeveloped, and time is wasted. What makes for some of these pitfalls?

  • Micromanaging. It comes back to the question of autonomy in the workplace. If teammates feel that they have more freedom, they are much more likely to take on greater responsibilities.
  • Failing to step up. Leaders need to improve their skills and take on new responsibilities just as often as their employees, if not more so. Leadership is not solely about delegation.
  • Not managing at all. The opposite issue of micromanaging? Leading without a sense of the whole. Being a leader means managing all the projects in the workplace.

Training to Achieve Essential Leadership Skills

It all boils down to a few very important essentials. Good leaders know how to build trust and collaborative relationships with their colleagues and their clients, as well as how to communicate successfully with all of the above.

Technical leaders face a lot of challenges in the industry, but with good training that addresses ways to leverage limited resources and balance all the various aspects of teamwork in the profession, good leaders can become excellent leaders.

Sources:

http://www.trainingindustry.com/training-outsourcing/products/research/leading-technical-professionals.aspx?display=ig

https://www.shapironegotiations.com/blog/6-leadership-best-practices-how-to-make-sense-of-the-unfamiliar/

 

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